For all the marbles

May 30, 2010

The 2008 champions and 2009 champions go at it once again, but this time in the Finals. A classic rivalry that is a much watch for any basketball fan. Looking back at the 2008 Finals where both of these teams met was victorious for Boston and painful for Kobe Bryant and his Lakers. Back then, it was pretty much a one-sided Finals match. The Lakers had Andrew Bynum out of the series and Trevor Ariza coming off a broken foot after missing 8 weeks and returning in the Western Conference Finals of Game 2 where he did not look like himself and wasn’t a factor in both series. The Celtics on the other hand had the Big 3 Allen, Pierce, and Garnett for the first year. The Celtics took home the trophy on the night of Game 6 with a 39 point victory over the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant definitely has not forgotten that image in his head.

This series will create a lot of attention on a certain number of players. Lets start with Andrew Bynum. We know he’s not playing at his fullest form. His knee swells up after every practice and game the Lakers have. Not playing in the 2008 Finals to help out his team, the question is “Will he step up this time?”. Even with the injury Bynum and his coach Jackson believe he can still play under the pain of his knee. Fans wonder will Bynum bring his A game or just be a useless factor in this series.

Another person on the spotlight is Kevin Garnett. He was a total dominant force in the 2008 Finals averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs and had a double-double in every game of the Finals that year. This playoff season, he is averaging a low 14 points and 8 rebounds per game. The one time of the most dominant PF’s in the NBA is now an aged player without a bounce. Can Garnett step up and shape up to his new form or will he let his Celtic buddies fall in the Finals?

Another huge factor that comes into play is the Lakers bench mob. Their bench consist of Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, and DJ Mbenga. So far, Lamar has been the only player stepping up off the bench. Farmar and Brown are nowhere to be found. Luke and Sasha have been lost in the playoffs. And DJ has

Kobe Bryant shooting over Ray Allen

only played a total of 4:47 in the playoffs. If the Lakers want to win the title this year against the Celtics, their bench must help take some weight off of Kobe and Gasol’s shoulders.

Lastly, Kendrick Perkins has been solid for the Celtics on the defensive end. It’s just a matter of time before he gets his next technical and being suspended for the next game. Knowing Phil Jackson, he likes to get into the heads of the opponents. Whether  it’s criticizing Kevin Durant’s FT line frenzy and taking a jab at Nash on his opinion of being the best coach in the league, either way, Phil Jackson came out of the series bringing the Lakers out on top. Kendrick can lose his cool easily and Phil Jackson could take advantage of that. You have to play smart in this series, and outsmarting Perkins in this series will take a toll on Boston.

This time the Finals are different. Both teams have a handful of former and current All-Stars Boston (5) Lakers (3). Both teams are the top two teams in the league with rings. Of course they both want to add another ring to their collection. Having all these star players and great teams battling it out in the Finals is simply classic and entertainment for any basketball fan. The Lakers are out for revenge and the Celtics want to remind the Lakers why they beat them in 2008.

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Recap of LA and PHX

May 28, 2010

While the Celtics are struggling to put the Magic out of the playoffs, the Suns and Lakers are having a close battle in the West. Being a Laker fan, watching the game yesterday was frustrating right until the ending. When the game is tied. LA ball, and there’s seconds left on the clock, you know damn well who will get the ball. That is the one and only, KobeBryant. The Lakers had so many chances to breakaway from a close game. I feel that they just want to make this game if not the whole series dramatic. In the final seconds of Phoenix’s last possession, they had THREE 3-point attempts to tie the game. And what do you know, J-Rich tied it at 101. While there’s 3.5 seconds left on the clock, Kobe jacks up a 3-pointer from the wing and missed. Luckily, Ron Ron was there to save the day with a put back layup. Nice Ron. After you threw up a pointless 3-pointer with time to kill off the clock in the last few seconds of the game! It’s okay, at least he saved the day, we’ll give it to him.

Phoenix has been playing pretty tough against the Lakers. Steve Nash and his Suns want to give these Lakers a fight. At 36, this guy has a broken nose and is still playing like a MVP. Dragic and Sasha went at it the last game. The two Slovenians cannot stand each other, which is funny. Dragic initiated the scuffle first though. I’d put 10 bucks on Goran to win on decision. Now up 3-2 for the Lakers or if you’re a Suns have down 2-3, the Lakers can close it out in Phoenix if their bench steps up unlike their last away game. Phoenix can push the series into a critical game 7. But they need their motivation back after a heartbreaking loss. Having Grant Hill and Steve Nash on their team should spark their confidence up.


Where is the Magic?

May 23, 2010

The Green Goblin defeats Superman once again

2 weeks ago, the Orlando Magic was the favorites to win the championships.  They swept defensive juggernauts in the Charlotte Bobcats and the young high flying Atlanta Hawks.  Dwight Howard was putting up great numbers, Jameer Nelson is showing the world why he’s the team captain, and Vince Carter was proving to the world that he still got it.   They were dominant and unstoppable.  Supposedly the only team that could have stopped them in the East was the Lebron James team, also known as the the Cleveland Cavaliers. A team that purposely built their team to defeat the Magic with the acquisition of Shaq to go against Dwight Howard and Antawn Jamison as a stretch 4 to counter Rashad Lewis.

But no one ever counted on the Boston Celtics to beat the Lebron James team and is now in a midst of sweeping the Eastern Conference favorites.  A team that went with the flow throughout the regular season, losing games to the likes of the Clippers, the Nets, and the Warriors.  A team that was old, tired, and unfit for championship.  And a team that had many injuries throughout the regular season and struggled to stay healthy.  Everyone agreed that the Boston Celtics were a great team, but no one ever thought they would be in the finals.  All predictions led to Lebron James and his rag tagged supporting cast beating the Celtics.  But now, the Green Monsters are 3-0 against the Magic. That is due because of the hard defense the Celtics is applying along with the stellar play of Rondo and revitalization or the Big 3.  They got the Magic bent over right now and is close to finishing the job.

How could the former eastern conference champions fall this bad?  I want to say lack of determination and the death of all morale at this point.  Cockiness could have also been a factor.  Dwight Howard was supposed to be that dominant center that no other team in the league has an answer for.  But now, the Magic dug themselves a deep hole that they are desperately trying to claw out of.

The Magic have two options now –

1. Lose to the Boston Celtics

or

2. Make history as the only team to ever win a playoff series after starting 0-3.

I don’t see number 2 happening though with Boston playing as great as they are.


WCF and ECF

May 18, 2010

Lakers vs Suns

Game 1 was a huge statement by the Lakers. Despite Kobe being hurt, he did work. The Black Mamba dropped 40 points on the Suns and helped the Lakers win by 21 points. The Suns had a good start to the game but ended up looking sluggish around the half. If the Suns want to win the series, they need to really control the momentum which they did with the Spurs. Although Kobe has been scoring 30+ games, I wonder will he have enough gas left in the tank to last till the end of the Finals? When the series shift over to Phoenix, for sure the fans in Arizona will have the Suns back. It’s just the Lakers job to put the crowd out early.

Lakers in 5

Magic vs Celtics

The Celtics took a convincing Game 1. The Game seemed lopsided until the 4th quarter when Jameer Nelson made a put back layup. After that, the Celtics just played smart having Ray Allen hold the ball to get fouled for free throws. Allen has to be one of the best players to close out the game in a clutch situation. Game 1 was a lesson for the Magic to learn. Rasheed and Perkins stopped Dwight in that Game 1. Other players like VC, Lewis, and Nelson need to step it up big to replace Howard’s presence if it doesn’t show. This series will be full of physical play and drama (always involves the Celtics). Many fans say there will be a Final rematch between the Lakers and Celticsin 08, but I believe the Magic’s athleticism will overcome the Celtics veteran skills.

Magic in 7

About the draft lottery tonight, I went on ESPN and used the lottery machine thingy majinger. I got the 76ers getting the number one pick overall. Wall will be number one regardless which team gets him. His value is too high to give up. He can also be a trading piece.


“King without a ring”

May 13, 2010

Did that fan say it best? The Cavs are down 2-3 in the series against the Celtics. The Cavs have the best record in the league and one of the best rosters on paper. Yes, LeBron had an off night in Game 5, and if you’re a NBA fan, yes this story has been retold many times. What I’m trying to get at is LeBron himself. I believe he has a wonderful team, staff, and management. They landed Shaq, Jamison, and Big Z back this season. Mo Williams stepped up into a big role player last season. So why does LeBron and his Cavs seem like they won’t win the title once again? You see, James has a great player. He will go down as one of the best players to play in the game. BUT. He can ALSO go down as a player who never won a title but proved he was one of the best such as Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson. He’s a MVP repeat. Shouldn’t he win this year with a much better team? The biggest problem about LeBron is he doesn’t know how to handle the media’s negativity but absorbs the “good” talk about him easily. After the loss in Cleveland in Game 5, LeBron didn’t look like a team leader even on the bench when they were losing. Not to mention, the fans left the game early and they were pissed. The Celtics played a great game of basketball. But early in the 4th quarter, it looked like the Cavs already gave up. As usual, the cameras were all on LeBron questioning whether he can come back in Game 6 because Game 5 was obviously in the Celtics bag. When the cameras focused on Bron, he didn’t seem bothered as much as the few seasons before when he had a early playoff exit. Is this a sign of overconfidence? I know players like Kobe or Jordan (which LeBron is also mentioned in the same category) are in anger on the bench and look zoned in on how to improve or help the team out. LeBron ignored questions after the game. The day after, he said the Cavs are still confident about winning in Boston. That’s great, being a wonderful team leader. I hope he and his Cavs bring their A game in Boston, because they couldn’t even bring it at home in Game 5. Fans even booed their own team. My question is this. If LeBron is so great, he should at least win a title in his prime years. If he wins a title on a team with such a roster like the 08 Celtics (who had a ridiculous stacked veteran team), it wouldn’t have as much meaning as it would if he was to take his OWN team to the title and unlike a team with a Big 3 or something. I can’t call LeBron one of the greatest unless he proves he can win a championship  with still a supporting cast, but not a team with All-Stars. Kobe has done it in 09 with a great supporting cast such as Pau, Bynum, and Lamar. Shaq has won plenty with Kobe and a group of others. Jordan has done it plenty of times with Pippen, Rodman, and many other talented vets. The day LeBron has a roster similar to these three players and wins a title, I can put him as being great. With James’s talent, he should be winning a title nearly every season. Free agent talk can come later. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with saying he SHOULD win every title or EVERY MVP award. Because without a NBA championship, he’ll be nothing more than once was a talented player.


He’s just Nashty

May 10, 2010

I got one thing to ask Steve Nash….

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!?!

Well, as you see, in Game 4 against the Spurs Nash got hit with a nasty eye injury. It’s not his first time getting hit in the eye by the Spurs too. But Nash still stayed in the game to play with that painful blow to the face. I respect Nash a lot. Not that he’s one of the best point guards ever to play in the game, but he’s a straight up Warrior. Broken nose, stitches around the eyes a few times, and at age 36, the man is still putting his body out there and helping his team win. The Suns actually swept the Spurs, which surprised many of us basketball fans. With Nash, the Suns can easily be the second best team in the West behind the Lakers. I won’t be shocked if they upset the Lakers in the Western Conference finals (assuming if the Lakers win one more game to beat out the Jazz).

In other news, besides the Suns advancing into the Western Conference finals, the Magic also did the same against the Hawks in the East by sweeping them. The Magic made it seem effortless. The Celtics and Cavs are still battling a close series with both teams winning 2 a piece.

Congratulations to all the players who won the regular season MVP to the All-NBA team awards. I hope to be updating more frequently soon. Sorry, I’m a college student, got MY kind of finals I need to study for also.


2nd Round Predictions

May 2, 2010

So my first round predictions were somewhat off… I didn’t expect that many upsets in the Western Conference. Now let’s take a jab at the second round.

Lakers vs Jazz

The Lakers took game one, but I don’t seem convinced with their confidence level yet. They struggled with the Thunder which I’m totally not surprised with. KD and his crew gave the defending champs a great run. The Jazz upset the untamed and uncoachable (unless you’re George Karl) Denver Nuggets. The biggest problems with these two teams are injuries. Bynum has a tear in his knee and Sasha is out for the Lakers. Jazz have a banged up DWill, hurt Kirilenko, and Okur who is out. Kobe stepped it up in game one and I think it’s obvious nobody can guard him from the Jazz. Other than that, each team is pretty evenly matched. Except coach Sloan I don’t think beat Phil Jackson’s team in a series yet.

Lakers in 6

Suns vs Spurs

I remember a few years back, these two teams were building a great rivalry between them. Players included were Bruce Bowen, Steve Nash, Raja Bell, and Robert Horry. Now, Steve Nash is the only player still playing in the same team which was involved in the altercations. The Spurs I believe pulled a lucky one against the Mavs. They have the talent and experience to match with Dallas, but Dallas seemed like they had more names to get them by. The Suns on the other hand shouldn’t have an excuse for losing the first game against Portland when they didn’t have Roy. Luckily, they won the series in game 6. This series will be fun to watch, I’m looking for drama in this one. Let’s see if the Richard Jefferson experiment REALLY sets in this series.

Spurs in 7

Cavaliers vs Celtics

The Celtics are aging quicker than you can say LeBron James. I think the Cavs “let” the Bulls take that one win. IF they wanted to sweep, I bet James would have gotten them to. The Celtics on the other hand whupped the Heat’s behind which I thought was a surprise. But this series should have a lot of complaining by the men in green. It seems like they can never take a loss…

Cavs in 6

Magic vs Hawks

After game 7, the Hawks are going to be exhausted facing the well rested sweeping Magic. As far as talent goes for Atlanta, I don’t see them putting more effort to this series, but taking a step back and preparing for next season. Magic I think is the scariest team right now in the East.

Magic in 5